Friday, May 08, 2015

Three Why's Game at the May Philosopher's Cafe

Philosopher’s Cafe Meeting, Thursday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m., at the Wainfleet Library

This month we will be playing a Philosophy board game “The Three Why’s,” a variation of the game “Scruples. Here is how it came about.

We had a successful game night at last month's cafe get together, playing Scruples, but, often, in considering the ethical problems posed by the game, we wanted to delve deeper into the problem. I had just been reading about the Brazilian philosopher CEO, Ricardo Semler, and his habit of imitating a three year old, why? why? why?. Only he does it in practical situations, with his family business at stake. Amazingly, it works. His meetings take longer, and go over things endlessly, but they avoid the stupid mistakes that have filled the Dilbert comics for decades. Here is some more from the net on Semler's three why's:

"Ricardo Semler suggests that one way to get to our greater wisdom is to simply ask three “Whys?” in a row about everything you are doing. He says, “The first ‘Why?’ you always have a good answer for. Then the second ‘Why?’ starts getting difficult [to answer]. By the third ‘Why?’ you realize that, in fact, you really don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing.” Semler says that by asking “Why?” three times, you start to get clearer about who you are and why you are here. In other words, you start to find your own wisdom." 

"Always ask “Why?”—and then ask it again, and again. If Semco has any signal strategy, it’s to simply ask “Why?” Semler calls it the “Three Whys.” In just about any situation, “we simply ask ‘Why?’ three times in a row. ‘Why do you do things the way you do? Why is it important for people to come in at the same time? Why is it important for meetings to happen in a certain way?’ You keep asking why and you generally get to the answer, ‘it is what it is.’ And when people realize they’re stuck in a mode they really can’t explain, this works wonders in breaking down resistance and opening up new possibilities.” 

So, I thought we could try that on the questions in the game next time. We will be the first in the world to play this "Three Why's Game", then, since we just made it up.

All welcome! No philosophy training required, real life experience desired!